They came with anxiety-stricken mind but headed back home feeling relieved at having found answers to their numerous queries.

The 500-odd young aspirants and their parents who participated in the 10 edition of The Hindu-EducationPlus pre-admission guidance programme held at the Gokulam convention centre here on Friday lapped up every piece of advice uttered by the experts.

The off-the-page initiative by Kerala’s largest-selling English language newspaper provided them new insights into various professional courses. They also received interesting tips on making informed choices on their career.

“Your decision is the most important aspect in making the right choice,” said S. Santhosh, Joint Commissioner for Entrance Examinations, in his presentation on the centralised allotment process (CAP). “Opt only for those courses and colleges you intend to join. Do not try to block the chances of others. Candidates should not retain unnecessary options once they were satisfied with the allotment they had received. Cancel all other options or you will have to pay penalty for the damage,” he said.

Allaying the fears about the marks standardization process, Dr. Santhosh assured parents and students that the objective is to “bring marks of all the boards on to a common platform”. He said that normalisation of scores was a safe and secure system and it offered no particular advantage or disadvantage for students from any particular stream of study. A. Jayaprakash Gandhi, education and career guidance expert based in Tamil Nadu, gave an overview of the various professional courses and advised the aspirants to choose a career they liked most. “Never narrow down your choices when you select a career. You should also analyse the job opportunities and prospects before selecting a course,” he said.

B. S. Warrier, career consultant, said the first priority in selecting a course is the aptitude of the candidate. “Learning ability of the student and opportunities for higher education and quick employability are some of the other key factors,” he said.

A. Krishna Swamy from Kengcylopedia.com, who discussed the matrix for exercising engineering college and course options, suggested that students should do an honest self-analysis before enrolling for a B. Tech programme.

“You need to be very clear why you are taking up an engineering programme. Parents should also keep a check on the academic performance of their children especially from the second year,” he said.

K. V. Kurian, Chief Marketing Executive, Multi-product sales team, State Bank of India (SBI), gave a presentation on the educational loans offered by the bank.

State Bank of India, local head office, was the presenting sponsor of the programme. The associate sponsors were Hero MotoCorp and Co-operative Academy for Professional Education. Asianet News was the TV partner. A handbook with information on aspects of the course-college selection process was provided to each participant free of cost.

P. Narayanan, Regional General Manager, The Hindu, Kochi welcomed the gathering while Tom Jose, Senior Assistant Regional Manager (Advertisement), proposed a vote of thanks.

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